The Music Scene - "We had a 21 water balloon salute"...
Date: Thu, 7 Mar 96 17:23:00 -0800
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Subject: The Music Scene - "We had a 21 water balloon salute"...
Forwarded-by: firstname.lastname@example.org (Keith Bostic)
Forwarded-by: email@example.com (Guy Harris)
Not so Merry Christmas
by Craig Aaron
Mojo Nixon is normally a crazy, raving, raunchy, loudmouth, boogie-woogie
But in his conversation with art+performance, the facade started to slip.
Nixon struggled to stay in character. Country Dick Montana was dead.
Montana, lead singer of the Beat Farmers, was Nixon's mentor and
inspiration. He gave Nixon his first gigs, played with Nixon on numerous
projects and even officiated at Nixon's wedding. Montana died unexpectedly
on stage in Vancouver on Nov. 8.
"Everybody's all freaked out," Nixon said from his home in San Diego. "I'm
having a delayed reaction. I'll feel much worse later."
Nixon described Montana as "a force of nature." He said the two have spent
innumerable hours drinking and carousing together since they met in 1981.
"It's rather abrupt," Nixon said on the day after Montana's death as his
raucous drawl cracked slightly. "At least he didn't die with some tubes up
As he reminisced, Nixon said that one of his favorite memories was when
"Reverend" Montana presided over Nixon's "big wing-ding" wedding to his wife
Adaire at a San Diego go-kart track. Nixon said he thought it was the first
and only wedding of its kind.
"We had a 21 water balloon salute," he said. "And after we were married, we
took a victory lap."
Inspired by the sounds of Montana's Country Dick and The Snuggle Bunnies and
a lot of gin, Nixon reached an epiphany in 1982 and said he decided to
dedicate his life to hollering with a guitar, having a good time,
fornicating and more drinking.
"I was going to end up at the post office, come in to work one day, and
shoot everyone," Nixon said.
He then realized where his true talents lay.
"I'm a big mouth," Nixon said. "I'm good at ranting and raving. I'm a hell
of a combination of Richard Pryor and Hunter S. Thompson that'll make you
buck dance and make you blush."
Montana introduced Nixon to washboard player Skid Roper, "one idiot thing
just led to another" and the duo won a battle of the bands contest in San
Diego and were signed by the now defunct Enigma records.
In the fall of 1986, Nixon released his Get Outta My Way EP and started his
tumultuous relationship with MTV with a video for "Burn Down the Malls."
Bo-Day-Shus came out in 1987 and "Elvis is Everywhere" went into heavy
rotation. MTV then hired Nixon to do a series of advertisements for the
network and invited him to hang out at the beach house during their "Live
From Spring Break" show.
Nixon was becoming the network's favorite son this side of Adam Curry until
they decided to ban his "Debbie Gibson Is Pregnant With My Two-headed Love
Child" video, which starred Winona Ryder.
"I lay down with the devil," Nixon, who met Ryder on the set of Great Balls
of Fire, said. "They didn't like the video because we made fun of Tiffany
and Rick Astley. MTV is all about Skittles ads anyway- that's who pays for
Nixon still refuses to host future shows for MTV, but he said he didn't
completely rule out working for the network again.
"I won't say I can't be bought," Nixon said. "I'll do any thing for $600,000
-- a McDonald's commercial, any damn thing."
In 1989 Roper and Nixon decided to go their separate ways. Nixon formed a
"super-group" with John Doe of X, Eric "Roscoe" Ambel of the Del Lords and,
of course, Montana. Replacements producer Jim Dickinson produced Otis, which
featured a prophetic warning about the Hell Freezes over tour, "Don Henley
Must Die." Enigma went under in 1990 and Nixon was picked up by Triple X
records where he recorded the "Louie, Louie" of Christmas albums, Horny
Holidays in 1992. This month Nixon will begin his fourth annual holiday tour
backed by the Toadliquors, who also played on his latest release,
Whereabouts Unknown. In between, Nixon recorded Prairie Home Invasion with
former Dead Kennedy Jello Biafra.
When he's not on the road, Nixon said he dreams of playing with Zamfir,
master of the pan flute, and spends time with his two sons Ruben, 13, and
Raif who is almost two. Nixon said his sons enjoy watching him perform.
"My sons have nothing to rebel against," he said. "They'd have to start
acting like Lord Portnoy or something."
Mojo Nixon's latest release, Whereabouts Unknown, is available from Triple X
records. The Horny Holidays tour arrives in at the Lounge Ax on Wednesday.
© 1996 Peter Langston